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Here is a first driving impression by Autocar India of Honda's much awaited, Brio-based sedan, the Amaze. This surely will shaken up few things in the market for sure. It is a sub-four metre saloon, much like the Maruti Dzire that Honda benchmarked extensively when engineering this car. What's also important is the engine under the hood of this car. It is Honda's first diesel engine in India and though Honda hasn't revealed the 1.5-litre i-DTEC motor's power or fuel efficiency figures, expect around 80bhp and about 24kpl. The engine is a scaled down version of the 1.6-litre diesel that Honda sells in Europe, so this four-cylinder unit has a twin-cam, 16-valve head. Driving it around the Motegi test track in Japan, the engine impresses with its refinement. Even better though is its responsiveness. It pulls well from as low as 1000rpm and there's a gentle surge at 1500rpm when the turbo comes on full song. This engine does its best work below 3000rpm which is fine -- it promises to be easy to drive in the city traffic. Also cementing its city friendliness are the gearshift and clutch action both of which are smooth and light.Driving on Motegi's smooth surface, it's quite impossible to judge the ride, but the steering does have more weight than the Brio's and this is a good thing. The other important bit about the Amaze is it's extended wheelbase. In keeping with its saloon credentials, the Amaze's wheelbase is 60mm longer than the Brio's. It also gets longer rear doors that make accessing the rear seats slightly easier. Once inside, you'll find a seat that is nicely cushioned and with a lot more legroom thanks to the longer wheelbase. It is incredibly spacious and a lot more so than the Maruti Dzire. Some may find the seat back a tad too reclined though. The center tunnel is also very low so travelling three up in the rear shouldn't be a problem. Up front, you'll find a dashboard that's identical to the Brio's and the front seats are the same as well. In cabin storage spaces include two cupholders and bottle holders in the doorpads. While Honda didn't reveal boot volume, it is clear that the Amaze's boot is bigger than the Dzire's. Speaking of which, the boot is well integrated into the Brio's design. Honda had released teaser images of the Amaze before its official press unveiling and what became instantly clear is that this would be a proper three box saloon. It’s got a defined boot section and doesn’t have that truncated rear end of the Maruti Dzire. Honda has tried to add some flair to the design with a smart rising belt line on the rear door that culminates in the interesting, City-like wraparound tail lamps and even the bumper gets its share of creases. Other ways to distinguish the Amaze from the Brio is the double chrome slats on the front grille and the front bumper is different as well. Apart from this, there have been no expensive sheetmetal changes which is good -- it will help Honda price the car well. The Amaze is no doubt an impressive car, one that, even on this quick drive, clearly shows how it sets the new benchmark in this class. Honda's back in the race and how!
First-ever spy pictures of the Isuzu MU-7 spied in India. Carries an MH-12 red plate, any guesses who is planning to bring this to India? This one comes with a 3.0-litre diesel engine with approx 146bhp in ASEAN markets. Do you think this is good enough to compete with Fortuner and the new Rexton? Images sent by Autocar India readers: Bharat Manghnani and Rohit Tonapi.